The plan for my first glamping experience included a stay in a kickass remote hut set in native New Zealand bush, but even the best-laid plans don’t always turn out how you expect them to. A weekend of heavy rain ended up seeing to my plans going awry.
The definition of glamping is, simply put, glamorous camping, but these days it can mean staying in many weird and wonderful places – not just a fancy tent. Think yurts, safari tents, earth ships, cob houses, mobile homes, shipping containers and train carriages made into homes, tiny cabins, tipis… and the list goes on.
I had wanted to try glamping for a while. I love camping and I love staying in unique places – I lived on a houseboat for a year after all, I have housesat a tiny home, and my dream house is a treehouse. Glamping sounded like it was right up my alley.
So when Glamping Hub contacted me and asked if I wanted to experience one of the myriad glamping opportunities on their website for New Zealand, I jumped at the chance.
After browsing through the website and seeing a range of options from a gypsy caravan through to fully kitted out safari tents – it was a remote cabin that you had to hike to that ended up catching my eye. I loved that just getting there would be an adventure.
The cabin, or the Black Hut as it is called, was described as basic but despite only being reached on foot or farm bike, it had hot water, a full kitchen, and a wood fired stove for heating – which made it sound like it wasn’t so basic after all.
Well, not for this homeless girl who has spent many nights on couches, in tents, and sleeping in the back of her boyfriend’s car.
The Black hut is located on Kawakawa Station, one of the oldest sheep stations in the Wairarapa, right at the bottom of the North Island near Cape Palliser. It would also be a new part of the country for me – something else to get excited about.
I began the adventure by flying down to Auckland on a Friday after work. Leaving grey skies in Auckland, I was greeted with a sunny welcome to Wellington, best enjoyed with fish and chips on the beach with old friends, and a fabulous sunset. It was so beautiful.
But Saturday, the day we were set to hike to the cabin, dawned cold and rainy.
But Wellington is known for rain – you just have to get on with it. So we packed up and hit the road.
On the way down to Cape Palliser we stopped in Featherston – where we grabbed our supplies for the cabin and some delicious whitebait fritters from a food truck, at the cute towns of Greytown and Martinborough to browse the shops, the tiny town of Ngawi for the seal colony, and to the lighthouse at Cape Palliser where I tackled the many, many stairs to the top in the driving rain and wind.
We made the most of our mini road trip despite the rain.
Arriving at Kawakawa Station at 3pm, we were told that because of the constant rain, they didn’t want us to hike to Black Hut as the hike involved a number of river crossings that weren’t necessarily safe in the worsening weather. So we agreed to forfeit our hiking/remote hut plans.
Secretly, I was pleased. OK maybe it wasn’t secretly.
We were definitely disappointed we wouldn’t get to experience remote hut life but we hadn’t been looking forward to hiking there in the cold and rain. Rain hiking is no one’s favourite.
So plans changed, and we were upgraded to a larger cabin that was next to the farm house instead: Kawakawa Cottage.
Our new home for the night was a large two bedroom cottage with comfy couches, a fully equipped kitchen, and a wood fired stove stocked with firewood.
We lit the fire, had hot showers, then proceeded to not do a lot of anything for the rest of the afternoon and evening.
I ended up reading a whole novel on my Kindle, a really good one at that, curled up on one of the couches in the cosy, fire-warmed cabin. Jolie and Tom had a nap. We cooked dinner and sat outside on the covered porch, watching the sheets of chilly rain fall on the misty green mountains in the distance. Then when it got too cold we went back into the light and warmth of the cabin.
There was no cell reception. It was quiet apart from the constant rain on the roof and the farmyard noises of the chickens and sheep that roamed freely around our cabin. It was exceedingly lovely.
I slept like a log in my room of many bunk beds, awakening to even more heavy rain and the certainty that we made the right decision to follow the advice of our hosts, that not attempting to hike to Black Hut the day before was a very good idea.
Pancakes, more reading and a little more lounging around occupied our morning before it was time to head back to Wellington. The short but sweet digital detox was over.
I believe in fate. That you end up exactly where you are meant to be. It felt good to sit still for a while and I think we all needed it. To really switch off and unwind is something I don’t do enough of.
Sometimes heavy, constant rain can be a blessing in disguise.
So was my first glamping experience a success? You know, despite things not turning out how we expected, we had a great time anyway. It was fun, relaxing, and I got to spend time with friends I don’t see often.
I would call that a success – wouldn’t you?
Thanks to Glamping Hub for the voucher that covered my stay. All opinions and witty observations (ha!) are my own.